Lots of anglers and lifelisters know what the pains of losing a micro fishing lifer before getting a photo is like. Some time ago, I started doing a quick photo of the fish as soon as possible a safety measurement. It’s sometimes stressful and annoying but it should be done right away.
When I see there’s a lifer on I grab the fish firmly with wet hands (never use dry hands as it can remove the fish’s slime coat). Be careful so that you don’t crush them, either. Head on to dry land for a better picture and more secure situation. Get a quick pic of the lifer then you can take more or better quality photos of the species. Return the fish quickly to the water.
It’s a good idea to set up a photo area ahead of time. Get an area on or close to the bank far enough away from the stream. You don’t want an accidental release. Keep your gear close by so that it remains safe. Rocks, boulders, and islands in streams are some good options of places to put gear in if those are present.
A fine mesh dip net is a good way to keep micros in the water during photos without fear of losing them. Place the fish in the net in the stream and take your pictures. Photo tanks are great for taking pictures, too.
Limit the time your micros are out of the water, with either a net like mentioned above, a photo tank, or with fish in hand in the water photos.
by Tim Aldridge